Scotland politics

SNP raises Dounreay 'nuclear material' concerns

PFR at Dounreay Image copyright DSRL

The SNP has raised concerns over reports that nuclear material from the Dounreay nuclear power station in Caithness is being transported to Wick Airport.

The party's leader at Westminster, Angus Robertson, told the Commons it was believed the material would then be flown to the US.

He raised the issue with Chancellor George Osborne, who was standing in for David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions.

Mr Osborne said established procedures were in place for moving nuclear materials.

Mr Robertson said: "There are growing reports in the north of Scotland about plans to transport dangerous nuclear material, including potentially nuclear weapons grade nuclear uranium, from the Dounreay nuclear facility on public roads to Wick Airport. It is believed it will then be flown to the United States."

Mr Robertson asked Mr Osborne what the material would be used for, and questioned whether the Chancellor or any of his colleagues had discussed it with any Scottish government minister.

'Established procedures'

Mr Osborne responded: "The transportation of nuclear materials has happened across this country over many decades. There are established procedures for doing so. The Royal Marines and the police service in Scotland provide the security as they do that."

He said that if Mr Robertson had any specific concerns about the transportation plans he could raise them with the government, but insisted that "the arrangements are in place to make sure we protect the public".

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Robertson said he had written to the prime minister over the issue as Mr Osborne had been "unable to provide detailed answers".

He said the public had "a right to expect the highest safety standards and full coordination and cooperation between responsible public agencies".

The Dounreay facility, which sits about 30 miles to the north west of Wick, is currently being decommissioned.